Renderfarm Advice

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  • Analog-X64Analog-X64 Posts: 107
    edited December 1969

    I started my render farm rebuild today. I've got 5 Core 2 Duo systems that I took outside and dusted and cleaned. Now they are running nice and clean with good airflow, fans working good.

    I thought about removing the heat sinks and adding new thermal paste, but I'll wait till I put some heavy load on them and if I see them running to hot I'll do that.

    I'll have to come up with some kind of tests for Readyboost & RAM Drive and see which combination will give me the best performance out of them.

    I'm also thinking of installing a 20 AMP outlet where these things are going to plug into. Not sure how many amps these guys are going to draw.

  • SixDsSixDs Posts: 1,822
    edited December 1969

    Hi. I was reading through the post on the first page that describes the network requirements and it struck me that, although a router was mentioned twice, no specifications were given for it. If I may make a suggestion, it would seem to be appropriate to mention that all of the components on the network must be Gigabit-capable in order to achieve Gigabit transfer rates. While it is stated very explicitly that a Gigabit switch is required, and that CAT 5E or 6E be used, it might also be stressed that if all traffic is to pass through a router, that the ethernet ports on that router must also be Gigabit ports or the whole network will be bottlenecked. It is probably not necessary to mention that the NICs on each machine be Gigabit, since all onboard controllers have had this capability for a long time. However, not all routers are Gigabit-capable, particularly if they have been provided by an ISP as a combo router/modem unit. So you may consider adding a note on router specifications to the list just to be clear and consistent. Not a criticism, just a suggestion. That aside, it sounds like everyone is having fun. :)

  • evilproducerevilproducer Posts: 8,910
    edited December 1969

    Unless you have a huge render farm, a 10/100 router seems to work fine in my experience.

  • edited December 1969

    Unless you have a huge render farm, a 10/100 router seems to work fine in my experience.

    I have seen an improvement by using a gigabit switch, cables, and nics.. not just in rendering, but in copying over my Data and Extensions folders to the render nodes. Also, when I VNC into the machines to work on them I also seen an improvement in responsiveness.

    The advice I have given is to give people some idea's on what paths to take, not to say they have to take the same path. So if your happy with a 10/100 switch, then be happy with it. If you already have one, and it is working for you, you don't have to buy a new one and recable everything. :) These are things that made my life with my renderferm better.

    On an additional note, one thing that I did was buy a Killawatz and run my farm through it to see how much power my machines draw when idling and when rendering. This will give you an idea on how much the electricity company is going to add to your bill when you render or leave all your machines idling! Remember, when batch rendering you can use the PAUSE button on the main machine to pause the whole render, and then resume the render when electricity is cheaper. For example, in my part of the woods, PG&E may charge twice as much for peak usage hours. But if you pause it then you have to shut the machines down or you don't see the savings, which can be a pain in the ass.

    On my latest render, I had three failed renders... the first fail was because I was mucking with my VPN to get into work and locked up my render machines. The second and third were power outages. All told I lost 9 DAYS of rendering. This means I spent $31 in electricity costs this month for NO PROGRESS AT ALL! (And I'm a little bit upset about it. *giggle*)

    So when you have a renderfarm you have to be VERY aware of your computer use or you can end up adding hundreds of dollars per month in electricity charges!

    Boojum the brown bunny

  • evilproducerevilproducer Posts: 8,910
    edited December 1969

    I'm not saying not to use it if you have it, but I only have two other computers on my network that I use a render node with. My computer has gigabit ethernet, my G4 does not and I'm not sure about the Intel iMac. The router is a 10/100 Mbps so my computer is throttled at that speed.

    Faster is better for data transfer of course. However, my point is that not having a gigabit switch or router is not a barrier to entry when it comes to using a render node.

  • Analog-X64Analog-X64 Posts: 107
    edited December 1969

    I've got 4/8 Machines ready. I'm going to start a separate thread as I dont want to hijack this one.

    As part of the testing. I'm going to test an animation render using 10/100 Switch vs 10/100/1000 Switch and see if there is any significant difference in render time.

  • evilproducerevilproducer Posts: 8,910
    edited December 1969

    That speed test could be interesting to see. I use Carrara 7.2 Pro and the network rendering options are much more limited than they are in C8 and later. For instance each computer works on the same frame in an animation. I can set the bucket size but that's about it.


    Due to a mix of newish, old and older machines I tend to use smaller buckets such as 48 so as to minimize the impact of the slower machines. When I look at my network traffic using Activity Monitor (I'm on a Mac), it's always less than 100 or 200 KB per second. By comparison when I transfer large files between the machines, I can see thru-put in the 20 MB range using a 10/100 router.

  • Analog-X64Analog-X64 Posts: 107
    edited December 1969

    I'm almost done. I've got all the computers ready to go.

    I'm going to install a separate 20 AMP circuit in the electrical panel in my house. I picked up 12 AWG Wire, 20 AMP Receptacle, junction box. I have a high end power bar that is designed to plug into a 20 AMP outlet with a red LED Display that shows the AMP's being drawn. So thats a little bit of a project installing all that in itself.

  • edited December 1969

    Very nice! It sounds like your almost ready! I hope you post your render times for us to see!

  • Analog-X64Analog-X64 Posts: 107
    edited December 1969

    Very nice! It sounds like your almost ready! I hope you post your render times for us to see!

    I will :) this will be my Render Farm v3.0 :) the last iteration was Pentium 4 Machines with Hyper threading. I have the test results for that somewhere I'll have to dig up.

    I'm doing some fencing repair today so after that I should have the 20 AMP circuit breaker installed and get some tests done.

    I'll start a new thread and will reference this one.

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